Improvements in Safety, Efficacy and Nutritive Value Drive Renewed Consumer Interest in Functional Foods and Drinks

The global market for Functional Foods and Drinks is projected to exceed US$195 billion by 2024, driven by rising focus on foods and drinks with additional functional constituents that provide disease-preventing, longevity-increasing, and health-promoting benefits.

All foods provide energy and nutritional value essential for a healthy living and are hence "functional" in some way or other. However, today's functional foods impart more than just sustenance of human life. The role of food and nutrition today encompasses correction of nutritional deficiencies to promotion of health and wellness to preventing diseases and offering health benefits such as gut health, bone health, heart health, brain health, immunity, and nutrition, among others. Few of the factors that brought about this transformation include advancements in science, technology innovations, spiraling healthcare costs, favorable regulatory environment regarding food labeling and product claims in addition to expanding population of aging individuals across the world and growing emphasis on health and wellness through natural foods amidst the growing incidence of lifestyle related chronic diseases. Major focus areas of research and development and scientific advancements in nutritional innovations that are steadily expanding applications of functional foods and benefiting market growth include functional ingredients; proteins and acidulates; vitamins; minerals; prebiotics; probiotics; hydrocolloids; essential oils; omega 3 & 6 fatty acids; flavonoids, and carotenoids, among others.

Future growth of the market will be driven by growing effectiveness of functional foods, drinks and their active ingredients in enabling life without drugs amidst consumers grappling with the challenge of living (and eating) healthily in an unhealthy modern world. Robust demand for mineral and vitamin fortified drinks, sports and energy drinks; high protein drinks, drinks promoting digestive health, drinks containing antioxidants, and drinks with lighter amounts of ingredients represent another important growth driver. Major factors that are poised to benefit market expansion in the near term include rising focus on functional sports nutrition foods and beverages; strong demand for digestive health and wellness; rising interest in fermented food and protein-fortified products; and growing adoption of plant-based protein and naturally functional products. Millennials inclination towards fitness and the ensuing focus on functional foods and drinks; huge untapped potential offered by infant/children's functional nutrition, and upward trend in demand for water that is tapped from fruits and their trees such as coconut water, maple water, birch water, cactus water, artichoke water, etc., are also expected to aid market growth in the coming years.

The United States represents the largest market worldwide. High levels of health consciousness; growing popularity of gut health products, predominantly dairy-based; use of functional foods and drinks in almost all age groups; high spending power of consumers, and a huge baby boomer population represent major growth drivers in the country. Asia-Pacific ranks as the fastest growing market with a CAGR of about 11.1% over the analysis period, driven by the huge potential offered by the unpenetrated and underpenetrated developing countries in the region.

Key players in the market include Abbott Nutrition, ABF Ingredients, Ltd., Amway Corporation, Celsius Holdings, Inc., Coca-Cola Co., Monster Beverage Corporation, Dali Foods Group Co., Ltd., Danone SA, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Inc., General Mills, Inc., Glanbia Plc, GlaxoSmithKline Plc, Hangzhou Wahaha Group Co., Ltd., Herbalife International, Inc., Kellogg Company, Meiji Holdings Co., Ltd., Nestle S.A., Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., PepsiCo Inc., Post Holdings, Inc., Royal FrieslandCampina N.V., Suntory Holdings Limited, Red Bull GmbH, The Hain Celestial Group, Inc., and Yakult Honsha Co., Ltd., among others.

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